The pleasure of sleeping in the open at 3,000 meters of altitude
Walking up the mountain for eight hours, planting the sack on top, sleeping under the stars with no other company than your own breath, and coming home the next day. "With a feeling of total fullness." Blai Bailén's (Vila-seca, 1974) relationship with the mountain has become a way of life. A decade ago he began bivouacing, the practice of camping outdoors in the wild. A passion that he has been cultivating as an almost therapeutic exercise. Now, he wants to go one step further and has proposed to climb twelve of the most emblematic peaks of the Pyrenees, both in Catalonia and Aragon, by bivouac each month in 2023.
Blai, who is a member of the Muntanya Section of the Vila-seca Cultural Group, has been bivouacing for about ten years in mountains all over the country. "I really like mountaineering and I practice it as an amateur," he says. I took the backpack and went to sleep on the mountain, each time a little higher, a little higher, and slept on top. With this I am not looking for any record or any recognition, it is a way of challenging myself.
The twelve peaks that it will do are above or around 3,000 meters of altitude. The challenge will begin in January and, although he has not yet chosen the destination, he is aware that he will do it in the toughest conditions. «In winter it is very different to bivouac. Not only is the route complicated, but at the top there is always a lot of snow and you have to dig a small hole with a shovel to put the mat and the bag inside. This way you protect yourself a little against the wind and also flatten the terrain”, explains the Vilasecan adventurer.
Spectacle for the senses
The reward? "Sleep in the hotel room with the most stars," she jokes. And it is that Blai describes his experiences as a spectacle for the senses. «The mountain at night is very different. You can see an impressive firmament and sky. Thousands of stars and the milky way are perfectly visible. Sometimes I am so excited that I can't even sleep and I have to get up to take pictures », he recounts.
Air conditioning technician by profession, Blai is a mountaineer by vocation. His love of the mountains and nature has come to him since he was a child and whenever he can he escapes to "connect with the Earth", he says. The Pyrenees have become his playground, although he has also completed ascents in mountain ranges such as the Andes, the Caucasus, the Alps or the Himalayas, where he made his highest peak to date, the Stok Kangri (6,153 m).
«I feel a great connection with the environment, with nature. It is a feeling of freedom and absolute fulfillment. It also serves to realize how infinitely small you are in this world », he says.